Press Release of the Committee “NO to the Ozeanium” from 19 May 2019
NOzeanium! Basel sends a strong global message.
The committee campaigning for the “NO to the Basel Ozeanium” welcomes the result of the referendum of 19 May 2019, and thanks the citizens of the Canton of Basel-City who voted against the multi-million dollar marine aquarium project. The campaign achieved a majority of 54.56% against 45.44%. The vote was based on sound judgement and moral progress. With this ‘no’ vote, the people of Basel have delivered a strong message to the global community: “We must protect the oceans where they are.”
In this day and age, people have become aware that aquariums represent everything that has gone wrong with the current status of oceans – that capturing wild animals and exhibiting them in confined spaces is ethically defunct; that it does not promote the protection of marine life and their habitat; and, above all, that the ocean environment needs to be preserved, not plundered.
The people of Basel made a historic decision. With their “no” to the “Ozeanium” project, they rejected an archaic concept – a decision with far-reaching consequences. The result of the vote, 54.56% “no”, is a “yes” for an effective protection of the oceans and a “yes” to a new concept in zoos – a Basel Zoo of the future.
“The area of the Heuwaage (where the Ozeanium was planned to be built) is an ideal location for an extension of the current Basel Zoo,” says Thomas Grossenbacher, Grand Council of the Green party of Basel-City and member of the “No to Ozeanium” committee. “The rejection of this obsolete project offers our city the opportunity to try something different”, he continues. Grossenbacher has fresh ideas for the future of the space: “The animals of the current Basel Zoo could have more space, and the city would have an additional green space that would extend over the suburbs of the Heuwaage to the gates of the Steinenvorstadt suburb.”
“The No to the Ozeaniumis an opportunity for a brand new start for the Basel Zoo,” says Vera Weber, President of Fondation Franz Weber, who has been fighting for more than eight years against the Ozeaniumproject. She states: “The Basel Zoo needs to review its animal ethics culture and, in the future, convert to the real protection for the animals. It is now well positioned to set an example and become one of the first zoos of the future.” Fondation Franz Weber has developed a “zoo of the future” concept called ZOOXXI.
The concept has already been adopted by a large majority of the city council of Barcelona. “We would be delighted to present this project to the Basel Zoo and discuss a vision for a zoo of the future in Basel,” says Weber.
The significance of today’s decision in Basel is clear: the capture of marine animals, their lengthy, often fatal, transport process from ocean to aquarium does not at all convey the message about the protection of marine species. The citizens of Basel now want to commit to the real protection of the oceans and their inhabitants.
The “No Ozeanium” committee invites donors, as well as institutions that indicated financial support for the “Ozeanium” project to invest the money into a fund for marine protection on site. For the zoo in Basel, it would be an elegant opportunity to present those in situ projects in a multi-dimensional and immersive way.
The Committee “NO to the Ozeanium” is supported by: Grüne Basel-Stadt, Fondation Franz Weber, Animal Rights Switzerland, Greenpeace Regionalgruppe Basel, Junges grünes Bündnis NordWest, VCS beider Basel, Ökostadt Basel, OceanCare, Stiftung für das Tier im Recht, Network for Animal Protection NetAP, fair-fish International & fair-fish Schweiz, LSCV – Ligue Suisse contre l’expérimentation animale et pour les droits des animaux, Verein Hilfe für Tiere in Not.